We’re living in outsourcing times, where you can offshore virtually everything you can imagine. That’s especially true for digital solutions, probably the most widely known services you can outsource. Companies of all sizes, from all over the world and across most industries have already enjoyed the benefits of offshore professionals.
Among the many services they hired, web development is among the most used, as proved by the many nearshore and offshore web development companies in the world. It’s only natural. Creating websites and web-based apps is a job that doesn’t need an in-house team to be successful. However, offshoring can be risky. Considering doing so? Here are 4 risks you’ll face – and how to overcome them.
Potential Radio Silence and Miscommunications
Working with someone from another region or country can bring communication issues. There’s a real possibility that the person responsible for being in touch with you doesn’t answer your emails or calls or has very special hours that make them virtually unreachable.
As you can imagine, collaborating with an offshore software development company has communication as one of the most necessary aspects. Having constant updates on the progress and meetings to solve any issue that might appear is key to the success of the project. Failing to do so might result in going over budget, projects that don’t get finished, or web applications that aren’t exactly what you needed.
How to Avoid It: the only way to prevent communication issues is to work with experienced providers that have a proven record for delivering successful projects. Those companies surely have established communications processes they should explain to you before committing to a relationship with them. Those processes should include the tools you’ll use to communicate, the people responsible for updates, the meeting frequency, and an agreed form of providing feedback.
Though the quality of offshore web development companies has come quite a long way during the last few years, there are some shaky agencies out there. In other words, there are still companies whose only competitive advantage is that they are cheaper than the rest. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s often a sign that you won’t be getting the highest quality product you can possibly get.
Why? Because these agencies cut costs somewhere in the process, so the web app might not end up being the best possible version. Some of the things that these companies sacrifice include design and testing, crucial areas for any high-quality website. In fact, a lot of cheap companies use templates or recycle earlier work to avoid the development costs of a new product. Of course, you don’t want any of that.
How to Avoid It: though there may be very tempting offers from offshore web development agencies, you need to do your research and see their past work. Checking their online portfolio might be a good way to see what your candidates might give you. However, you should also try to contact previous clients or read online reviews to see how it all went for their former customers. Finally, don’t believe for a second that paying more money necessarily leads you to a better site. You can find a good price for a good website in a lot of agencies.
Lack of Security
We could have included this one in the quality section, but security is so important nowadays that it grants for a new section. That’s especially true when talking about websites and web apps that more often than not handle sensitive customer data. So, it’s very important to build the most secure site possible. Also, the very same practices used by the development team need to be secure, as they’ll be dealing with private information from your brand.
Since you won’t be meeting the team face to face, you need to have a person in charge of everything security-related. This person has to make sure that only the authorized developers have access to your information. Also, they have to provide you with a detailed list of the security process used by the agency to protect your assets during development and beyond.
How to Avoid It: this is a two-level issue. First, you have to make sure that you know who’s working on your website and apps and make them sign non-disclosure agreements. Also, you need to make sure they are all using the latest security measures and technologies to develop your web solutions. Finally, watch that the agency uses the essential security features in your site, such as SSL certificates.
Loss of Control and Visibility
In the end, whenever you hire an offshore development company, you’ll be handing part or all control over to an external third party. That’s necessarily the case when working with remote teams, as you won’t be able to be breathing down their necks overseeing every little detail.
In some sense, this can be a blessing, as micromanagement can be hell for developers and can quickly lead to frustrated projects. However, it can also mean you’re left in the dark about a lot of things. Depending on who you have on the other side, you might not gauge the progress in the same way you’d do so if you were working with an in-house team.
How to Avoid It: the solution is twofold. First, you need to make sure you find a trustworthy vendor that provides you with a detailed plan on how the outsourcing company will keep you updated on the progress and that, more importantly, is able to stick to it. But, on the other part, you’ll have to make peace with the idea that outsourcing means giving up some control. Finding a delicate balance between being informed and not meddling too much is essential for any outsourced web development project.
To Sum, it All Up
The outsourcing market might not be at its peak and maybe the perceived risks surrounding it are to blame. Perhaps the bad experiences made some people distrust offshore services. Maybe it’s just an economic thing. Be that as it may, outsourcing is as valid an option as it ever was – especially for web development.
Considering web development agencies from near countries or other regions can provide you with access to a wider talent pool, a different perspective, and even reduced costs. The risks will be there, sure, but you have a way to avoid them – researching. By vetting your prospective providers, you’ll be sure to pick an experienced contractor that can get the job done in time and with the highest quality. Just make sure to take the time to do your homework!